Some Iranian Graduate Students Are Barred From UMass-Amherst

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will no longer accept Iranian students into its graduate programs in chemical, computer, and mechanical engineering, along with the natural sciences, The Boston Globe reports. The university cited as the basis for its decision U.S. sanctions on Iran, which make Iranian citizens ineligible for visas if they are entering higher education for a career in certain areas of Iran’s energy sector. Current students must also pledge their compliance to the rules in writing.

The university said in a statement that a ban on Iranian students conflicts with its institutional principles. “However, we must adhere to the law and hence have instituted this policy to ensure that we are in compliance,” it said.

The National Iranian American Council has called on the university to reverse the policy. “This is a major problem for UMass-Amherst, which risks doing real damage to itself as an institution,” the council’s president, Trita Parsi, said in a written statement. “It’s also a problem for the U.S. government, which only undermines American values and influence when it prevents universities from reaching out to young Iranians.”

UMass Amherst says it no longer will accept Iranian students into graduate programs in chemical, computer, and mechanical engineering and the natural sciences because it says doing so puts the college at risk of infringing on US sanctions against Iran.

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